ROI_SMGraphics_LG[1]AlterianLogo_thumb[1] This is the final episode of the interview with Aaron Newman, co-founder of Techrigy, developers of the SM2 monitoring tool and Mike Talbot, co-founder of Alterian, which acquired Techrigy in 2009 to round out it’s offering of media monitoring tools to include social media – smart move that one.

In this episode, we conclude the interview and explore the ability of SM2 to be able to detect the sentiment and tonality of a social media mention as it is picked up by SM2 and how the tool can be ‘educated’ to provide better and more consistent results. 

Can the computer really understand tone and sentiment though? As Aaron has said in a previous episode, it’s more of an art than a science right now, but that is primarily because the nuances of human communications are more subtle than the system can understand. 


At one point, Mike references the Turing Test, as an example of the kind of complexity a fully automated assessment of tonality and sentiment would require.  The Turing Test was designed back in the 50’s to assess whether or not a human could detect the difference between the projected presence of a computer vs. a human during an interaction.  As a science fiction buff, I relate it to the kind of challenge I see in Ray Kurzweil’s impending Singularity – according to Ray, the ability may be as not be far off as many think.  In the context of the conversation with Mike and Aaron, we all agree that it is a complication that drives the need for human intervention in the monitoring process.

The topic of Social Media Optimization (SMO) comes up relative to the ROI and how it drives ROI.  Aaron explores the SMO concept as developed by Rohit Bhargava on Influential Marketing Blog, where Rohit presented 5 rules of SMO. 

Here are the five that Rohit cites in his original post –

  1. Increase linkability
  2. Make tagging and bookmarking easy
  3. Reward inbound links
  4. Help your content travel out
  5. Encourage mashup

Since the original post, the ‘rules’ have been expanded to more than a dozen with input from the likes of Jeremiah Owyang / Altimeter Group and other great minds in the realm of social media marketing and optimization. 

Aaron Newman picture at Mike Talbot picture at Aaron observes that these kind of characteristics are very different than 10-15 years ago when early bloggers attempted to make their content proprietary and contain where and when it was re-posted. 

We revisit the need to first establish a strategy before you pursue tactics and Mike encourages a process that establishes knowing what you are trying to do first is part of a structure that encourages identifying activities and identifying influencers and audiences that are receptive to your content.  We wrap up with information how to connect with Alterian (and they are listening all the time BTW, the RT’s by the Alterian team are really a treat – thanks you guys!). 

In the summary, Mike shares an anecdote from the merger / acquisition process.  When the board chairman asked why they needed to get involved with social media, Mike showed him how social media was already acting on an existing brand of another company the chairman was involved in and how that was the ‘ah-ha’ moment for him.

Play / Download Aaron Newman and Mike Talbot of Alterian Episode 6 Podcast Here

To support the effort in uncovering the ROI question in social media, we’ve set up a Fan Page at Facebook, a LinkedIn Group, a Google Wave and a special discussion group on the Social Media Bible Ning site.

Come join us and let us know what the pressing issues are in your efforts to determine an ROI in your social media presence.

Here are links to the previous episodes in this series –

Transcript and Extended Recording

Transcript of the original recording

All six (6) Episodes in one file / recording for download or to listen to

This is the final post in the interview with Aaron Newman and Mike Talbot of Alterian.

Guy and I both would like to thank Aaron and Mike for their time and willingness to meet and share their perspective on the topic.  Above are links to material related to the interview that you may find useful; a transcript of the discussion and the entire conversation in one extended recording.

We’re very interested in your perspective on the topic and, if you have a favored presenter or person who can add to the conversation, please let us know – we’re looking to interview him / her and put it up here!

Thank you again to you our listeners – hope you enjoyed the effort and work we put into it!

About the Podcast, Transcript and Credit For Where Credit is Due – This transcript was developed from an interview held November 30, 2009 between Aaron Newman, Mike Talbot, Guy Powell and Steven Groves.

The podcast interview was recorded at, downloaded and processes in Audicity, downloaded from SourceForge with ‘4toFloor.wav’ music loop from member ‘Rooks’ and posted at

Introduction voice is Cynthia Propst / TSMB Media, LLC.

The transcript provided by Cynthia Propst / TSMB Media, LLC.